A ruling by U.S. district court Judge Susan Bolton in Arizona on July 28, 2010, temporarily blocks enforcement of the most problematic provisions of Arizona’s recent law, SB 1070, targeting illegal immigrants. The federal government brought a lawsuit against the State of Arizona stating that only the federal government only has exclusive power over immigration. In California there have not been any friction with the federal government, but many criminals sitting in California prisons are illegal immigrants; many with criminal histories.
On July 30th, two days after the Arizona controversy, I was boots down on the ground at the U.S. Border Patrol San Diego Sector to get an up close look at the border situation in Southern California and a briefing on security issues. I was a “guest” of this Homeland Security agency. The mission of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to protect our border frontiers from drug and human smuggling as well as to stop terrorism.
The San Diego Sector covers 60 miles of border, which is only 3% of the southern American border with Mexico, along with 114 miles of coastline, but this sector is the second busiest in the country.
In the morning I received a briefing on 2010 Campaign Stronghold, and also found out that 1 out of 3 arrests made by the Border Patrol the arrestee has a U.S. criminal record.
I then went out into the field with an Agent to see the old and new fences that define the border. The space between the two fences is known as “no man’s land” where ground sensors are located and where vehicles can race to penetrations on newly paved roads making for quick response times. Of course there is a wide variety of technologies that are the eyes and ears of the Border Patrol.
I had a chance to go to the Port of Entry – San Ysidro, where all pedestrian and vehicular traffic pass through, and then follow the border all the way down to the beach. I went down to the sand to the water’s edge.
I have worked with the Border Patrol in the past. I have taught several Combatives courses to different units, and I have seen agents at work at Camp Pendleton doing their craft of catching people on the run. Back in the late 1990s I was running a sniper training event where we had ten sniper teams try to sneak into a Combat Town at night with the ability to hide and move in hundreds of acres. In a very short time the Border Patrol agents were able to locate all the teams and tag them; and these teams were made up of highly trained police and military snipers. With their night vision goggles and thermal imaging devices it was next to impossible to move past these guys. I also had a chance to train side-by-side with their REACT special operations team in live-fire shoot houses, but today they are called BORTAC.
A decade ago I was also invited to the border with the U.S. Marshals and Border Patrol; a time when they only had one fence up at the time. Twenty minutes later the agent told us, “We had better go or they will start throwing rocks over the wall.” Sure enough, a few minutes later, big rocks started sailing over the wall trying to hit us. We left just in time. Today the new fence has stopped that kind of activity and harassment, and as a result American housing and shopping malls have been built right up to the fence in the most populated areas. With border stability came land development and more revenue.
I have always respected the U.S. Border Patrol, and have always found them to be professional law enforcement officers. Last week’s experience on the border renewed that respect.
Top Dutch police instructor in Hollywood Jim Wagner
My good friend Gerard Willemsen came to Southern California with his family for a one week vacation, and I had the good pleasure of showing them around Hollywood on July 21st.
Gerard is one of the top defensive tactics and tactics instructors of the Amsterdam-Amstelland police training facility that is responsible for training the municipal police for all of the Netherlands. For a small country it is more of a national police.
I have been teaching the Dutch police for a few years now at all levels: from the Amsterdam police to the federal police known as the Koninklijke Marechaussee, and even members of the Queen’s Protection Detail and SWAT team. When I first started teaching my Reality-Based Personal Protection system in Holland Gerard was one of my first students to run through it. He, and other police instructors, liked my courses so much they contracted me to instruct for them. In 2009 I helped form their police knife survival program known as MES PROGRAM. I trained all of their instructors who in turned trained 3,000 police officers from July 2009 to July 2010. The year before that I taught defensive tactics and scenario training.
The last time I saw Gerard face to face was on May 18th when he drove down from Amsterdam to Solingen, Germany to attend my Situational Awareness course. He was most impressed with my section of vehicle attacks and defense and wanted the same material taught to his people. He also showed me their new use-of-force continuum graph that he credits me for helping develop it.
Gerard and I have got along so well together because he and I think and train alike. He only wants to study and teach what works in real conflict situations. He’s open to other people’s ideas, and he has little patience for people who do not teach realistically. His main concern is always for the future safety of his students. He knows that most of them will one day face brutal attacks, and he just wants them ready for it.
I look forward to seeing Gerard Willemsen in the fall season, and I’m sure we’ll have more information to exchange.
A little research in the Midwest Jim Wagner
I am a history buff, and one of my many interests in the past is human conflict (law enforcement and warfare). Wherever I travel in this world I like to hit the museums and battlefields. Information I obtain, and photos I take, often end up in my articles, books, and DVDs and how it relates to today’s conflict. This summer my research took me to South Dakota; the American Plaines.
On June 29th I went to Fort Randall. The only building that remains is the ruins of the fort’s church. The rest of the wooden buildings have long disappeared, but their footprints still remain.
Fort Randall was established in 1856, and was the first fort of a series of United States forts to protect the frontier during the Indian Wars. The fort was build near the Missouri River that was important for navigation to transport goods.
Fort Randall never had a wooden wall built around it like other forts because the five hundred men, which eventually expanded to two thousand men, stationed there made the fort secure enough with the buildings forming a large square and a parade ground in the middle.
Famous men who have visited the fort when it was an active installation was Buffalo Bill Cody, Civil War General Phillip Sheridan who made an inspection of the fort in 1879, General George Custer, and eventually the man who helped defeat him, Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotanka) in 1881.
Fort Randall was closed in 1892.
To complete my research in this area I also went to the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, which is also a historic landmark in South Dakota near the Missouri River. I had a chance to see archaeologists at work on a dig at the Tomsen Center Archeodome. It is a large building that completely encloses the dig site to protect it from the elements. It has a cat walk where visitors can walk around the site, displays and stratigraphic profiles, a laboratory, and a meeting room. It is truly a remarkable facility.
I had a chance to examine ancient Indian weapons and even had the opportunity to use one; a replica of course. I spent a good half hour learning how to use the atlatl and spear. The atlatl, an Aztec word, is essentially a handle with a carved out half sphere at the end of the stick. This gives more extension to the arm of the user. The butt of the spear with stabilizing half feathers, like an arrow, is inserted into the half hollow sphere and then the shaft of the spear is pinched with the thumb and index finger. The warrior then flings the spear with the atlatl with a whipping motion and the projectile flies rather straight and far; approximately 50 meters. This invention was developed before the bow. To show you how it is done I have included step-by-step photographs and captions.
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